A Peek Into Our Nursery…

Our poor, neglected nursery has just been sitting upstairs for a couple of months now with only the bare essentials set up. I’ve been feeling so guilty about not having it finished (especially when people keep asking us, “do you have the nursery all set up?”….no, no we don’t. We’re bums.). But my sweet parents came to visit this weekend and helped us get everything finished! Yay! Daddy and Joel hung shelves, curtains and did some other odd jobs while my mom and I put together the last bits of decorations. We’re SO happy with the finished product and can’t wait to get Cassidy all settled in! I thought you might like to take a little peek inside:

We didn’t go with a theme, really; just lots of bright, happy colors. The walls are painted a light grey, just like the rest of the house. The furniture came from Pottery Barn Kids, courtesy of my in-laws. The bedding is also Pottery Barn Kids, which was a gift from my mom, sister and good friend Chris.

I found these shadow boxes waaay back in the summer on sale for $1 each at Hobby Lobby (they each had an ugly white letter in the middle). My sister and I pried the backs off, took out the letters and glued in different colors of scrapbook paper. My mom and I found the little pictures and gerber daisy on the gift wrap aisle of Walmart (the little pictures are actually gift tags, but I think they work perfectly here!).

The little birdy is my favorite. :)

The rocking chair comes from Joel’s great-grandmother. We had it reupholstered and my mom sewed a cute little pillow to go with it. The curtains (not shown) are made from the same fabric. I found the lamp at Home Goods (my all-time favorite store!) and I’ve had the table for years. We painted it a bright blue to compliment the yellows and pinks.

A close-up of the rocker and my mom’s pillow- isn’t that cute?! It’s super comfy too!

The changing table, initials we got at Anthropologie and a shelf that my mom painted and brought for us to use.

Well, that’s an in-depth look at our little cupcake’s nursery! I hope you enjoyed getting to take a peek inside- I’m so happy it’s finally finished and that I could share it with you! :)

 

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No News is…Good News??

Happy Friday, friends! Hopefully you all have something fun and exciting planned for the weekend. Joel and me? Well, I suppose we’ll be out and about, scrambling to make the most of our last days sans baby- shopping, eating out, going to a movie…you know, all those things we certainly won’t be able to do for awhile in just a mere couple of weeks. Two weeks. 12 days, to be exact. Just two weeks and our lives will be changed forever. Unless of course, our daughter is anything like me and decides to be difficult…

By the looks of things, Cassidy won’t be coming early (I know, I know- anything can happen, but….); I’ve made zero progress over the last 2 weeks. Zero. I’m trying not to get discouraged by this and living my life as I normally would; however, it’s hard when all I think about is baby-baby-baby 24/7.

It’s also hard because while I know I don’t necessarily look half bad, I feel like this:

A swollen, fat, grumpy mess. It also doesn’t help that my mood swings are more violent and erratic than ever (poor Joel….). HOWEVER, I am amazingly lucky to still be comfortable (for the most part), able to sleep well at night, energetic and in general, in great mental shape for being 38 (almost 39) weeks pregnant. Thank the Good Lord. I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed being pregnant (well, except for the 1st trimester) and I may even miss it a little.

We’ve just about got everything done- the bassinet is set up, clothes are washed and hung up, my freezer and pantry are stocked and ready to go, the car seat bases are set up in each of our cars…I’d say we’re ready for our little girl! Now we just need to get used to the idea that in 2 weeks, we’ll be parents. Though, I’m not sure there’s much that can be done to prepare for that. Is anybody really ever ready for something that huge?

So in these next two weeks as you go about your normal business, if you have a little spare time, I ask that you think of me, Jabba the Pregnant, and maybe send some good vibes or a quick prayer our way. Being first time parents is not only exciting, but a little scary and we’ll need all the help we can get! Also, any advice or tips you can offer is always, always appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to “listen” and thanks for being great readers! I’ll keep you posted! :)

Amy

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A Little Announcement…

Wow, sorry about that. It’s been like, FOREVER since I posted anything! How sad! But I swear I have a good reason! At first it was because I was so busy with the operas (they went great, by the way!), but then I became preoccupied with other things…things like saltine crackers, ginger ale and 24 hour sickness. No, I don’t have a cold- I’ve been very busy baking up something VERY special:

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!!!

Yep, that’s right! Joel and I are having a baby and I just couldn’t WAIT to share the news with you! This is our first (well, if you don’t count Izzy) and I’m so excited that we get to share the experience with all of you! My readers are so special to me and I’m just thrilled to be able to keep you updated through every step! Right now I’m at about 7 weeks along and my due date is January 25 (I missed Mozart’s birthday by 2 days! Shucks!). We had our first doctor’s appointment Wednesday and we got to see the baby’s heartbeat! Very awesome! Please be patient with me throughout these next couple of weeks- I’m as sick as a dog and food is definitely NOT my friend right now. I’m going to do my very best to post often, but when the sight of pasta salad sends me running to the bathroom, it makes it just a teensy bit difficult (jeez, I can barely type pasta salad without wanting to puke).

Bear with me, friends! And pray for me- this is going to be SO new and SO different! And most of all- thanks for sticking with me! :)

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Greetings from Opera Land…

I realize it’s been a slow week here at Sing For Your Supper, but I have good reason. You see, I’ve been busy with this…………

 

Charming, isn’t it? (I feel a little like Eddie Munster…). This is my costume for our production of The Mikado. These past couple of weeks have been filled with non-stop hip hop dancing, booty shaking, high note singing, EXHAUSTING, yet FUN, hard work. And tomorrow night we open. I’m expecting an extremely positive audience reaction- it’s hilarious. Any of you DFW-ers out there should definitely try to make one of the performances, I guarantee you’ll have a great time. :)

This will all be over in a couple of weeks and I’ll be back to posting 3 times a week again, I promise. For now, just bear with me…and wish me luck! ;)

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A Bittersweet Blogiversary…

This month marks the 3 year blogiversary for Sing For Your Supper. Pretty exciting, if I do say so! 3 years of good food, lots of growing and learning and lots of truly wonderful readers. It’s amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come since April 2008- my pictures don’t entirely suck anymore, I’ve learned a thing or two about food styling/plating, and I’ve made SO many amazing friends. That’s something to celebrate. I was planning on making a big, gaudy, overdone cake with gobs and gobs of buttercream frosting. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately for me, it actually doesn’t.

See, there’s actually something about me that I’ve never shared with you because I like to keep my blog perky and sunshine-y. But there’s a part of my life that definitely is NOT sunshine-y. For over 5 years now, I’ve dealt with something that has controlled my life. I get sick all the time. I won’t go into detail because this is after all, a food blog; but let’s just say it encompasses all degrees of being sick- both trashcan and toilet. Sometimes I black out. Most times I throw up. But every single time I’m completely miserable for at least a day or two; sometimes a week. And poor Joel has had to put up with me. I feel like every other week he was nursing me on top of taking care of everything else while I was sick in bed. It sucks. This has been my life for 5 years. You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t been posting quite as frequently as I normally like to. To be honest, I haven’t cooked. I haven’t baked. I haven’t taken much pleasure in food lately because it always ends up making me sick. I hate to be sick. And no, I don’t have a disease or terminal illness (thank the good Lord), that’s not the problem. The problem is food. Food is the enemy. Or, I guess I should say food was the enemy.

We’ve pretty much figured out that I’m lactose-intolerant. If you know me at all you know how dear cheese is to me (I get cheese in my Christmas stocking, for heaven’s sake!). Cheese, milk, sour cream, butter…all of it. I ADORE dairy. But it definitely does not adore me. In fact, most times, it makes me feel like I’m going to die! Ugh! The pain, nausea and sheer discomfort is too much to bear. So I’ve cut it out. No more cheese. I was sulking and drowning in my sorrows for awhile. I mean, how UNFAIR is it for someone who loves cheese as much as I do to have a dairy intolerance?! But I sat down and really thought about what that would mean for my life- no more headaches, no more unexplained sickness in the middle of the night, no more scrutinizing over every piece of food I eat, no more worrying. As the bigger picture came into focus, a huge, heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. That’s a pretty good feeling. So I “put on my big girl pants” and dealt with it.

The verdict? I. Feel. Amazing. I have a life again. I know it sounds a wee bit dramatic (and I’ll admit that I’m guilty of an occasional over-dramatization now and then), but I’m being 100% real and drama-free with you- my life has changed forever and I’m thrilled. Sure, I miss my beloved cheese like there’s no tomorrow and a little piece of me dies (ok, now I’m being dramatic) when I walk past the Blue Bell section of the grocery store, but I’ll be danged if it ain’t worth it! ;)

So, there you have it. That’s the real truth about what’s been going on around here. And as for that big, gaudy, overdone cake…I’ll get around to it, I promise! Nothing is going to change here at Sing For Your Supper, so don’t worry. Although I’m definitely going to be testing and trying some new dairy-free recipes to share with my lactose-intolerant readers (I know you’re out there!)- which is actually something I’m really, really looking forward to. Thanks so much for celebrating this 3 year blogiversary with me. I know I didn’t post a happy-go-lucky recipe with beautiful photos and a couple of care-free paragraphs, but to me, this blogiversary has meant so much more! I love sharing my real life with you and am so fortunate to have readers who are so supportive and encouraging! Here’s to 3 more (dairy-free!) fantastic years! Cheers!

 

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A Big (and Important!) Month!

A sweet food blogger friend of mine, Nikki, recently inspired me to do something bigger and better with my blog. As you all know, based on the two ads I have on my site, I make a little money from my blog. Foodbuzz pays me a small amount of money based on every thousand hits I receive. It’s not much, but it pays for the monthly hosting costs for my site, some groceries and most importantly, my cheese addiction. ;)

Recently, Nikki had a friend pass away, leaving his very young family behind. Nikki donated her entire earnings for the month of January to this young family to help them get through these difficult times. Isn’t that wonderful? We need more people in the world like this, which is why I’ve decided to follow in Nikki’s footsteps. It’s been two years since we adopted our sweet Izzy girl, and since that time, Joel and I have developed a passion for helping rescue societies and shelters as much as we can. That means helping to spread awareness about homeless animals, sharing pictures of animals in need of adoption on my facebook page, encouraging others to adopt instead of buying puppy mill puppies, and more. But really, the best gift we can give is money. There are SO many homeless animals that come into the shelters and rescues needing surgery, healthcare, food, constant attention, and much, much more. Izzy did. When she was picked up as a stray, she had been abused and needed immediate medical attention. Rescue societies depend largely on donations to make all that possible. That’s why I’ve decided to donate my entire Foodbuzz earnings for the month of February to a local animal rescue- Homeward Bound, in honor of Izzy and her 2nd “Adoptiversary” coming up on February 20th. It won’t be a huge amount, but it will certainly be enough to keep some special homeless animal warm, fed and comfortable.

So, if you feel it in your hearts, please tell your friends- every click my site receives is more money to Homeward Bound. And more money to sweet, loving animals like Izzy.

Thanks so much, Nikki, for inspiring me to do this! Thank you all, so, SO much!

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A Little Christmas Spirit…

BOY, do I love Christmastime!!! And you’d better believe I squeeze out every second I can- I’m not letting one single holly, jolly moment go to waste! And based on your emails, tweets and facebook comments, I happen to know that there are quite a lot of you out there that get into the spirit of things just as much as I do! So, I decided (just for the fun of it) to post a few pictures of some of my favorite Christmas keepsakes. Ornaments are a very big deal to me- I’m not one of these people who decorate their tree in one shade of glass balls. Nope. I need colored lights, candy canes, precious glass balls of every color and all the funky homemade stuff my husband and I made as kids for our parents’ trees. I love every single bit of it. If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, you probably need a good smacking. ;)

First up, my great-grandmother, Baba’s bells. I have about 30 of these little white bells; they used to be on Baba’s tree. I treasure anything that was once on Baba’s tree!!

This is my little kitchen tree. All the ornaments are food-related (yes, that’s a taco ornament you see in the background). ;)

Yikes. I made this in elementary school. And no, those are not giant striped turkey legs roasting on the fire….they’re stockings. Obviously.

An homage to my quirky side- our Christmas tree wouldn’t be complete without all my Nightmare Before Christmas ornaments!

I think these are my favorites. Joel and I each made these in Sunday school (at different times) as kids…before we even knew each other. They hung on our parents’ trees for years and years; and now they hang our own tree side by side every year.

From our first married Christmas…

Just one of many, many cupcake ornaments!

Baba gave this to me as a wedding gift. It’s significant because she and Pop were married in car (it’s a great story, I just don’t have time to go into right now!). My sister has one too and we both cherish them.

Joel’s mother bought this for me

This is the most special one of all. When we were in high school (long before we had even started dating), Joel brought this to me as a Christmas present. There’s a little button on the bottom that plays jingle bells when you push it; I sat in the floor pushing the button over and over again wishing Joel were my boyfriend! I knew right then I wanted to marry him! I can never hang this on our tree without crying…

So there you have it! Some of my favorite, most precious ornaments and keepsakes. And those don’t even scratch the surface- I have SO much more! I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season so far…baking, decorating, singing carols, and being with friends and family! Thanks for letting me share my memories with you!

Happy Baking!

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Giving Thanks…

There are so many things (SO many!) to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Sometimes it even overwhelms me a little bit just to think how very blessed I am. From the little things like having a wonderful boss and getting along SO well with every single one of my co-workers, being able to have Mondays and Fridays off so I have lots of time for baking and being in my kitchen, having such a great relationship with so many other amazing food bloggers, and the beautiful color of the trees and leaves; to the big things like having the most amazing, supportive, understanding and giving husband- that is something that should never ever be taken for granted, being able to talk to my mom every day on the phone and see my parents often, my sister and her sweet family and all the rest of my wonderful family, a sweet, funny and affectionate little dog who has brought so much joy to our lives, a house that’s always warm and inviting, and secure jobs for Joel and me…to name a very few.

But most importantly, the thing I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving season….the life of my great-grandmother, Leila Hazlett (Baba). I just wrote about her 100th birthday last month- it was a time of joy and celebration, and Baba got to see her entire family and be near them. We all got to spend the afternoon with her laughing, crying, sharing stories and simply being together. I think it was what Baba had been waiting for for a long time. I thank God for that afternoon….it was the last time I got to see Baba. She passed away this weekend. Which brings me to reason I’m so very thankful- Baba is in a place where she doesn’t need a wheelchair; she can run, jump and sing with a heavenly choir, she has no pain, she can taste good food again and walk down streets of gold. After over 20 years of being a widow, she can finally run into her husband’s arms and sit and talk with him every single day…for eternity. But most importantly- Baba is with our Lord. She’s finally in Heaven. Praise God! PRAISE GOD!

So, this Thanksgiving, I am so very, very thankful that our Baba is finally right where she’s wanted to be for a very long time, looking down on us. Happy Thanksgiving, Baba. I love you so much and will always and forever remember what you have given me.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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Happy 100th Birthday, Baba!

Tomorrow is my great-grandmother, Leila Hazlett’s 100th birthday. Wow. There aren’t enough words for me to express how much this woman means to me (and to my entire family) and how very blessed and lucky I am to still have her in my life. In fact, it’s a good thing that I’m typing this, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to finish my sentences at all….I can hardly talk about Baba without tearing up. I know there’s no way you can know how special Baba is or what she means to us. But believe me when I tell you, this is one amazing woman.

Most people look up to their grandmothers and try to be like them, etc. I don’t just look up to Baba, I channel her. I strive, on a daily basis to be the kind of woman she was and is. She raised 4 kids and took care of a husband during wars, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl; she didn’t have ready made pie crusts, boxed brownie mixes or bags of frozen vegetables, yet there were always warm, delicious meals on the table every single day.  She fed, clothed and nursed an entire household and did it with a smile on her face. She and Pop had the kind of marriage every couple dreams of- trusting, passionate, caring. As kids, she’d let us play with her old paper dolls, rummage through her jewelry boxes and play with her old bottle collection. She put together little cricket boxes for my sister and me filled with small little trinkets and tidbits that would probably be worthless to most people, but to us they’re treasures. She had the entire family over for Sunday dinner week after week. When I spent the night, she’d let me take a bath in her big claw-foot tub with her good bath beads and let me use her cold cream (to this day, I still love the smell of Ponds cold cream); then I’d go to sleep wearing one of her long nightgowns. She told us stories. SO many stories! The same stories that I’ll tell my children and grandchildren someday.This is no ordinary woman. She is a proud, strong, graceful Southern lady and she’s everything I want to be.

And she was one heck of a cook. Every time I step in my kitchen, I try to channel Baba. I now take pride in cooking meals and taking care of my home and husband. I have family over every chance I get. This is what Baba taught us- take pride in your family and cherish them. And serve them hot, steaming plates of fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits and a gorgeous, flaky, golden peach cobbler. Food is important. Food brings a family together around a table. Baba’s peach cobbler is sublime. It’s what I’ll eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day in Heaven. I’ve never made one on my own before. I’ve always been afraid of falling short. Maybe this is the year to honor Baba and my heritage with the dish that holds my family together like glue. We’ll see. This blog and all my cooking successes and disasters is dedicated to Baba. This is why I’m so proud to cook – because every time I create a new recipe for my family, it brings me one step closer to being more like Baba. I thank God for her. I’m so lucky that she’s gotten to be a part of so many important events in my life and my sister’s life. She got to see us both get married and begin our own families. She’s gotten to hear all about my operas and my travels overseas. She’s seen my marriage blossom and grow and she’s gotten to see what a wonderful, godly man I married. Baba has impacted every life she’s encountered and our family is SO blessed to be celebrating the 100th birthday of the most special woman in the world.

Happy Birthday, sweet Baba. I love you.

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Back to the Real World…

HELLOOOOO! We’re back! We’re tan and probably about 5 pounds chubbier than we used to be, but we’re happy to be home! Omigosh, y’all – we had SUCH a fantastic time in Cancun! The place we stayed at was just amazing- the food was great, our room was great, the pools (there were like, 7 or 8 pools including a lazy river!) were awesome, the people were super friendly and the beach….oh man, the beach was just pure heaven! It wasn’t crowded at all; in fact, you could always get a fantastic spot on the beach or by the pool at any time of day…ahh, to be there again, sitting under a large tiki umbrella snacking on chips and guacamole, sipping on tropical drinks….I’m telling you, pure heaven. However, it is good to be home. We certainly missed our sweet Izzy Bear (although I don’t think she missed us nearly as much! She was livin’ it up at my parents’ house, getting treats and toys and torturing her ‘Aunt’ Beatrice, my mom’s dog), and I definitely missed all of you! Here are just a few pictures from our trip- enjoy!

And finally, one of the pictures our friend Andrea took- she’s seriously amazing!

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